I’m going to being this blog with a story…
The Mouse and the Cat
Once there was an old house and a little mouse lived in its walls. One day the mouse woke up and thought” I’m hungry”. As it got to the hole in wall it heard “meow meow”.
Oh oh – a cat. I’ll get eaten if I go out there.” So it went back inside the wall and went to sleep. A few hours later the mouse woke again, thought “I’m really hungry now” and went to the hole in wall. Again it heard “meow meow”.
Oh no. That cat’s still here.” So it went back inside the wall and went to sleep. 4 or 5 hours later the mouse woke again, and thought, “I’m so hungry now if I don’t get something to eat I’ll starve to death.” It went to the hole in wall and it heard “meow meow…woof woof woof”.
Ah-ha” it thought, “a dog has chased away the cat”. So it scurried out and was promptly eaten by the cat. Licking its lips the cat thought, “It pays to be bi-lingual”.
Dr Bill Sommers tells this story when he delivers workshops on conflict. Dr Bill Sommers lives in Texas, and has been consultant for Cognitive Coaching, Adaptive Schools, Brain Research, Poverty, Conflict Management, and Classroom Management strategies. He says he tells the story because when it comes to conflict it pays to have more than one way to deal with it because nothing will work all of the time. Dr. Sommers was a teacher and then principal for 35 years, so he says the same attitude is important in education; when one strategy doesn’t work, use another. There are too many variables when it comes to students learning so the wider our repertoire of strategies to help students the better we can address any issues.
We can’t have too many strategies because our classes hold such diversity
Maybe you have heard this quote before, “if plan A doesn’t work, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet”.
Having more strategies makes you more effective, and gives you competence and confidence when working with your students .Bill Sommers has another quotable quote, ‘the person with the most flexibility has the most impact in a conversation’. The more tools I have in my kete/basket the more impact I might have on the students learning experience.
Bill is an example of someone who has devoted his life to finding ways to help people to move ahead to be the best that they can be and he likes to end his workshops on conflict with the words of the American writer, activist, and feminist Rita Mae Brown. “People are like teabags. You find out how strong they are when you put them in hot water”.
You can watch Karen Tui Boyes holding a number of excellent conversations with Dr Bill Sommers on the Spectrum Education website:-